Writing Tips

 

 

Writing a novel is not for the feint of heart.  It is a huge undertaking that can take months or even years to complete, depending on the amount of research and detail you need to you put into your work of fiction or non-fiction.  Even knowing this, it can feel like it's taking too long to complete your novel, or that you'll never finish.  If you feel that way, it may benefit you to read a few tips and tricks on writing and promoting your fiction in order to speed up the process without diminishing your book's quality or value to your readers.

One of the ways you can speed up the process is by creating an outline or a breif synopsis of the plot as well as short character descriptions. This can help you get your ideas down so that you do not have to continuously stop and think, What happens next? 

Of course, utilizing a good novel planning and writing book, like Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook: Worksheets for the Writer, Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) and Ready, Set, Write: Level 1, may help keep you focused and on the productive writing path.

For more writer tips and tricks, keep reading.  You're sure to find some ideas to help keep you on the path to publication.

 

 

 

Wavemaker is a piece of novel writing and card making software with novel planning features.  It is an add-on for Chrome and Chromium.  Because it adds onto the browser as an external application, it works with all platforms.  It's also available in the Google Play Store.  All versions of this software are free as of this writing.

First Things First

Wavemaker is not set up like normal novel planning and writing software.  There's no menu for Chapter or Scene.  Instead, there are Siblings and Childs.  How you use those, I think, is up to you.  For myself, I think I'd use the Add Child for Chapters as it indents under the manuscript title, which is populated with "my story".  You can click on My Story and easily change the title.  It's very similiar to how Google docs does their titles.  In fact, all the titles are like that.  You can name childs and siblings in that manner.  To get the software to sync properly, you must connect it to Google Drive.  By doing that, you are allowing it to update automatically and be availalbe for you no matter which device you are using. (This is the primary benefit of this product.  It works everywhere.)

What WaveMaker Includes

  • A writing and editing window (Writer)

  • Search Function

  • Database Cards (Not sure what this could be used for.  Up to your imagination I think.)

  • Snowflake Tool (Bad name for this, but you can add characters and locations and extra novel information and have it exported to the Writer Tool)

  • Planning Board (Shows sections that are in the Writing Tool)

  • Grid Planner (I guess if you were going to do some detailed novel planning, this is where you'd do it.)

  • Mind Map (Again, probably for an author who really wants to plan the crap out of their novel)

  • Timeline Tool (What happens when.  Another novel planning tool)

  • Challenger Mode (Timed Writing.  Productivity Tool)

  • Export Documents

  • Google Drive Sync Up

Pros of WaveMaker

  • Available on all Platforms that have Chrome of Chromium Installed

  • Available for Android Phones

  • Definitely usable for writers using a combination of Linux and Android Portable Devices 

  • It Syncs with Google

  • Can be exported as HTML, Markdown, RTF and as an Ebook (Ok, ebook someday.  It's not available as of this writing)

  • You can download the project file

  • Has the ability to turn on paragraph indents (although, they are very shallow)

Cons of WaveMaker

  • It's not intuitive

  • It is not laid out like other novel software writing programs

  • There is a learning curve.

  • May not be able to work on more than 1 book at the same time.  Second books seems to overwrite the first book.

 Wavemaker is probably very powerful and useful once you get the hang of it. A lot of the features are not precisely defined, so the author has a lot of leeway in how they use the functions of this program.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  The jury is still out.  I really haven't used it enough to make a determination, but I think authors should give it a try.  For a free peice of novel writing software, it looks pretty robust.

 

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Writer Tools is a piece of novel writing software that is available for Android and Online, meaning it can be used for all types of computers as well as portable devices. The software is completely free for mobile, tablet and online use most assuredly not completely free.  See the red note. It is advertised as a novel planner, tracker and editor.

 

NOTE: I have not found a way to get the novel to download. AKA: Export does not work.  If you click on it in the webbrowser version, it downloads a test.docx.  This looks good initially, but if you put text in the scene/chapter and try to download it again, you still get a blank test document.  While it is supposed to sync with Google Docs, going into your drive may not work either.  I could find the file in my Google Drive, so that little backdoor trick may not work.  If you try the same thing in your Android device, you'l get the message to UPGRADE.  AKA: PAY PAY PAY to get access to your novel, and since the web version of export doesn't work, I wouldn't recommend plunking down your hard-earned money for this.  To date, the only way to get your novel off Writer Tools would be to C/P every single scene into a document on your computer.  Depending on how much you've written in Writer Tools, you could be looking at hours to get your text out of the program.

The Writer Tools Mobile Application

The Writer Tools mobile application is available in the Google Play store. It is completely free to download and install. However, it contains ads and offers in-app purchases, so as with every piece of free software, it’s important to pay attention and not accidentally purchase something you did not intend to purchase.

What the Application Offers

  • Backup Creation – Clicking on this automatically backs up your progress.

  • Writing Progress Tracker – Track your writing progress automatically.

  • Timeline – Create timeline events

  • Characters – Create, Name and write biographies for all your characters

  • Chapters – Writer your chapters (There’s no scene feature)

  • Locations – Create your locations.

  • Quarterly Goals – Create and track your quarterly writing goals.

  • Ideas – keep track of your novel ideas

  • Custom Lists – Create custom lists

  • Thesaurus – Get those big words or alternative words so that you don’t say the same thing 45,000 times

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Updated: May 5, 2019

On May 5, 2019, the creator of Biblisco contacted me, letting me know that Biblisco 2.1 was available for download for Mac, Linux and Windows, so I have updated this to reflect the new version, which is improved over version 2.0.3, which was what I had previously downloaded for Linux.  First thing to know.  If you've started a project under the old Biblisco, I recommend you finish it and switch to the new version for your next project.  I was unable to create an archive in the old Biblisco and get it to load in the new Biblisco.  The new Biblisco did not see the old project's archive.  Thankfully, I was using the old Biblisco to test the functions.  I'm doing the same with the new version (with the intent to use it as a way to organize projects that I've been working on in Google Docs. (Full discolure there.)

 

If you haven't heard of Bibisco, don’t fret. It’s a lesser known piece of software for writing fiction. Bibisco specifically works with Windows, Linux and MAC computers. Unfortunately, there is no Android or Apple application as of this writing, but the desktop versions are offered in free or paid versions.

Free Bibisco

The free version of this fiction writing software contains:

  • The ability to create unlimited projects

  • Sections for creating your novels, premise, fabula, setting and narrative strands.

  • The ability to create locations.

  • The ability to create detailed character biographies

  • Chapter and scene creation

  • Analysis of the books sections and word counts

  • The ability to export files via PDF or .doc 

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If you’re an author that’s just finished their book, you might be thinking about sending query letters to agents in an effort to gain representation so that you can traditionally publish your book and have it appear in bookstores. If you’ve never queried before, you might feel a little overwhelmed. Here is a step by step guide to querying agents.

 

1. Make Sure You Have the Proper Materials

 

In order to successfully query an agent, you’ll need to have a few documents ready to go.

 

    • A One Page Query Letter – The first thing you’ll need to do is create a 1 page query letter. While there are numerous examples online of query letters, I prefer Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Writer's Digest Books.

    • A Short Synopsis – You’ll need to create a one page and a two page synopsis. This is because different agents request different lengths for their short synopsizes. One and two pages are the most common.

    • A Long Synopsis – You’ll also need to write a long synopsis. In fact, you may want to start writing your synopsizes with this one. It’s much easier to create a long detailed synopsis and cut it down than it is to initially try to cram 200 or 300 pages into a 1 or 2 page synopsis.

    • The First 10 Pages – Go ahead and cut out the first 10 pages or first chapter of your book right now and put it in a separate file. This will make life easier for you later.

    • The First 30 Pages – Go ahead and cut out the first 30 pages and create another separate file. This will save you headaches later.

    • Annotated Outline – You may also want to create a detailed annotated outline for your book. I never did this and skipped any agent that wanted it. These are really tedious and time-consuming to try to put together, but if you’re feeling extra motivated, you should create one.

    • Bonus - The most common query package I saw was one that included a query letter, the first 10 or 30 pages and a short synopsis.

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When authors finish writing, editing and perfecting a new book, they typically have two choices. They can traditionally publish with the help of an agent, or they can self-publish their books via common platforms, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Currently, traditional publishing makes up about 70 percent of the market, while self-publishing makes up about 30 percent of the market. The method you choose will primarily depend on your goals, your current and future skillset and the amount of cash you have available.

bookcatQuerying an Agent

An agent is an individual who has book industry contacts. They know other agents. They know editors at big publishing houses, and they have a team of professionals that help them determine whether or not a book is viable. In short, they have clout. You can look at them as the traditional publishing gatekeepers for publishers that only accept submissions from agents. (There are publishing houses that accept submissions directly from authors, but I’m not covering that in this article.)

What you need to understand is that there is no accreditation for agents. Becoming a book agent is really as simple as creating a website and saying that you are a literary agent. They do not need any education. There are no experience requirements. There’s no license or professional certifications, so authors need to be careful when choosing agents to query.

 

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Writing styles change over time. Few writers today indulge in the kind of classic writing of Shakespeare or for that matter Mary Lamb or William Bartram. Today's writers are keenly aware of adherence to grammar and punctuation style guides. With regard to punctuation, the use of bold, italics and parentheses depends on sentence structure, grammatical dialogue and plot. 

However, ensuring readers clearly understand what you write is always the major goal with the use of visual enhancements. The rule of thumb in writing is to know your readership as well as you know the buyers of your books. There are pros and cons of using italics to designate character thoughts in fiction. Exploring the pros and cons is important for those new to fiction writing. 

For every professional writer who has ever published their guidelines, few ever agree on standardization or uniformity when it comes to italics. Thus, it is helpful to study pros and cons of this particular issue. 

 

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Learn How to Survive an In-Depth Book Critique Without Losing What Remains of Your Sanity Writing a book is a very personal experience.  While the thoughts, feelings and actions of each character are their own, the authors creates these things with his or her own experiences, either conscious or subconscious.  this means that every time a book is written or a book is read, a piece of the author is inside that book.  For that reason, receiving any sort of critique or hash words about the material can seem like a personal insult.  The thing to remember is that critiques are meant to help you improve the material, not to insult your intelligence or creativity.

 

1. Disconnect from the Material

The first thing you should do is try to disconnect yourself from your material.  While your book is a personal reflection of parts of you, by the time you get into the critique stage, you need to look at your book in the same light that you would look at someone else's book.  In other words, forget you wrote it and start looking at it with the eyes of an editor or book marketer.  this will make the comments in the critique easier to handle, and you may even understand what the critiquer was really trying to say.  Not to mention, you'll preserve your sanity and sense of self-worth.

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Writing a book and publishing a book are only the first steps to author success.  This is because you could have written a great book, but this does not matter if no one knows about it. Thankfully, there are promotional tools and things you can do to help spread the word.


Social media is a great place to promote your book. You can potentially reach thousnads and even millions of people with properly timed and hashtagged tweets and posts. You can also start a blog, create promotional and informative articles and share those across your social media accounts.  There are even sites where you can promote your book for free.

Additionally, there are also several Amazon books available to get you gather book promotion ideas so that you can create your own custom book promotion strategy.  Great Noevel marketing books include:

  1. Novel Marketing: Making Your Author Brand Work for You & Your Books
  2. How to Market a Book Third Edition (Books for Writers)
  3. The Kindle Publishing Bible: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon (Step-by-Step Instructions On Self-Publishing And Marketing Your Books) (Kindle Bible Book 1)
  4. How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
  5. Sell More Books!: Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions
  6. Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Publishing) (Volume 2)
  7. 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Real World Edition: Authors: How to sell more books, ebooks, multi-media books, audios, videos, white papers, and other information products in the real world

 

In addition to the above helpful books, here are a few articles to help you self-promote your books.

 

 

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Writing and Editing Books on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Mugs for Writers on Amazon

 

 

Journals for Writers on Amazon

 

 

    

  

 

 



 

Tablets for Writers on Amazon

 

 

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